Clap for carers should stop before it becomes negative, says founder

22 May 2020, 19:14

Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in the national applause
Coronavirus. Picture: PA

Annemarie Plas said she was overwhelmed by the support for the campaign, but said she feared it was becoming divisive.

The architect of the weekly “clap for carers” gesture has said next Thursday’s show of support should be the last, amid concerns the event has become politicised.

Annemarie Plas, a Dutch national living in South London, said she was “overwhelmed” by the support for the cacophonous ritual, but said it was better to stop when it was at “its peak”.

She told the PA news agency: “I think it’s good to have the last of the series next Thursday, because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak.

“Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised.

“I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative.”

Millions of people across the country have regularly paused to applaud frontline NHS staff, carers and health workers after the coronavirus outbreak.

It has seen throngs of people gather in their gardens, balconies and on street corners, sometimes playing instruments or bashing pots and pans to create a visual and audible show of support.

Staff outside Abbeydale Court Care Home in Hamilton clapping
Staff outside Abbeydale Court Care Home in Hamilton clapping (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Next Thursday’s will be the 10th weekly event, which was started as the UK went into lockdown in March, and has seen members of the royal family, the Prime Minister and celebrities join in.

But it has also divided opinion between some who feel empowered and encouraged by the gesture, and others who feel it is patronising – particularly over the Government’s initial decision, later reversed, to charge overseas health and care staff for using the NHS.

Mother-of-one Ms Plas said: “A clap is something normal people can do, showing our appreciation.

“But the power is not with us. We can give them respect but we are not signing the cheque – that falls on another desk.”

Annemarie Plas, a Dutch national living in South London, who sparked the weekly 8pm clap for carers
Annemarie Plas, a Dutch national living in South London, who sparked the weekly 8pm clap for carers (handout/PA)

Ms Plas suggested resurrecting the clap in 2021 to mark a year since the coronavirus outbreak.

She said: “Stopping clapping doesn’t mean we are not still appreciating them.

“Some people will still want to carry on, so they should.

“But we will stop and show our support in other ways – there are other initiatives we can support.”

By Press Association

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